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Minnesota Legislature

Legislative News and Views - Rep. Fue Lee (DFL)

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Legislative Update - June 2, 2017

Friday, June 02, 2017

In my last update, I shared about how legislators and staff had been working around the clock to complete a special session that dragged through an entire week, because Republicans couldn’t reach agreement with the Governor to finish their work on time. I wanted to give you a few quick updates regarding Governor Dayton’s actions on those special session bills.

Governor Dayton Signs Several Special Session Bills

Governor Dayton signed the special session omnibus budget bills on Tuesday, while also expressing his disappointment and frustrations with the final products. You can find letters with the Governor’s explanation for signing the omnibus budget bills by following the link here.

The Governor and his staff negotiated around the clock and they were able to remove many bad provisions from these bills, including: changes to the Subcommittee on Employee Relations that would have almost certainly turned us into Wisconsin in terms of state labor union contracts, meager funding for higher ed and E-12 education that didn’t even keep pace with inflation, environment language that would have neutered the buffer bill to help clean our state waters, and the Governor helped negotiate a bonding bill that will more adequately meet state infrastructure needs and create jobs.

Even with those victories, there are items still in the special session omnibus bills that are objectionable, including the statutory denial of driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants. In many important areas of the budget, from E-12 Education to Higher Education to Environment& Natural Resources to Jobs & Energy, the Republicans are choosing to prioritize the short term over the long term success of Minnesota’s citizens and economy.

Governor Dayton Vetoes

Thankfully for the many thousands of workers who are organizing in communities throughout the state for better pay, earned sick leave, and paid family leave, the Governor vetoed the preemption legislation passed by Republicans.

The Governor also line-item vetoed the funding for the House and Senate. This is an attempt to bring Republicans back to the negotiating table on the five main points of contention he outlined in his protest letter to legislative leaders:

1) Eliminating the tax breaks for big tobacco companies.

2) Canceling the estate tax exclusion increase above $2 million.

3) Removing the commercial-industrial property tax freeze that threatens our fiscal stability.

4) Removing the undocumented driver’s license provision.

5) Removing teacher licensure provisions that weaken standards for becoming a teacher.

I support Governor Dayton’s efforts to get a better deal for Minnesotans and say no to tax cuts that jeopardize the future fiscal health of our budget. I will continue to keep you posted if there are any changes in the status of negotiations (which are currently not occurring) between Governor Dayton and Republican legislative leaders.

I encourage you to contact me with any questions, comments, concerns, or ideas on any legislative topic. Also, I am available during select hours on Monday and Friday mornings most weeks for in-district meetings, if Northside residents aren’t able to make it to the Capitol. If you would like to send me a message or set up an in-district meeting, you can reach me by phone at 651-296-4262 or by email at rep.fue.lee@house.mn. I look forward to hearing from you!